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Japan’s service industry activity index fell 1.5 percent in February from the previous month for the first decline in five months, due partly to lackluster wholesale and retail sales of clothing, the government said Friday.

The tertiary industry index — a measure of demand for services — slipped to a seasonally adjusted 108.0 against the base of 100 for 2000, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in a preliminary report.

Of the 11 sectors covered by the report, activity indexes dropped in seven sectors, including wholesalers and retailers, information and communications, as well as financial services.

A METI official said that as it got warmer in February following a cold spell until January, clothing sales stagnated. Securities firms also did not fare well as stock prices temporarily fell from mid-February, he said.

But the activity indexes picked up in three sectors — restaurants and hotels, and postal and education services — with the number of customers at restaurants increasing and parcel service for pamphlets and magazines rising, the official said.

The index for various services, including advertising, leasing, entertainment, laundry and auto repair, remained unchanged from the previous month.

The METI official said the February index fell following a relatively favorable 1.5 percent month-on-month gain registered in January, and the latest result does not necessary show a downtrend in the service industry.